HEALTH bosses in Worcestershire have vowed to make changes after food at the county’s three major hospitals was ranked some of the worst in the country.
A report issued by the Department of Health last week showed all three sites run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – were among the bottom 20 per cent in England for quality of food on offer.
The report followed inspections carried out between March and June this year and saw the Royal receive the lowest score in the county at 82.76 per cent, while the Alex ranked at 85.17 per cent and Kidderminster Hospital 88.67 per cent, all below the national average of 88.79 per cent.
Speaking at a meeting of the trust’s board on Wednesday, September 3 chief executive Penny Venables described the results as “very disappointing” and said the organisation was putting a number of measures in place to improve its standing.
“We do take hospital food very seriously,” she said. “Nutrition is a very important part of patient recovery.
“We are determined to do something about this.
“There are large areas we did score very well such as making sure fresh fruit is available.
“Where we did score badly is quality of food.”
Mrs Venables said the organisation was already trying out new menus with a greater range of options Kidderminster and Redditch as well as expanding the variety of food on offer out of hours.
“Our nursing colleagues are working very closely with our catering colleagues,” she said.
“The improvements being made by the report are being monitored to make sure we are making the changes required.
“We are also starting our own patient surveys.
“At the end of the day it’s the patient’s choice what they want for lunch but we do provide info.”
Food at Kidderminster and the Alex is provided by an in-house catering team while an external company provides meals at the Royal.
Non-executive director Andrew Sleigh said the trust had carried out a detailed survey of food two years ago and he was convinced the problem could be fixed fairly simply.
“There’s nothing systematically wrong with what we are doing,” he said.
“My hope would be we can pinpoint what we need doing and bring it up a few notches right away.”
Lee Mill, a secure mental health unit in Plymouth, scored lowest in the country at 35.19 per cent while a number of services throughout England achieved 100 per cent.
After the figures were released health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced all hospitals in the country would be ranked on the quality of their food on the NHS Choices website.